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Effects of Rape Survivors

Effects of Rape Survivors

Rape is a crime against men and women in which they’re sexually assaulted against their will. It is a heinous crime that happens every 73 seconds in America and around the world. (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”) It is a terribly traumatic experience may leave lifelong effects that could be psychological or physical. These effects could be mild to severe but in most cases are severe.

Rape is a major problem worldwide, it can happen to anyone, at anytime, anywhere, it happens to both men and women. Although it tends to happen to particular groups more than others. Why does it happen? We don’t know but some researchers suggest it could be related to rural area, employment, age, education, etc. Statistics from (Rape, Abuse & Incest

National Network) indicate the mass of victims are under age 30. Ages 12-17 are at 15% and ages 18-34 increase up to 54%. As age becomes higher risks and percentages decline, a decreasing 28% are ages 35-64, and only 3% are ages 65 and above, we can see there is a correlation between increase of age and decrease of assault. Females and young girls encounter assault at a greater rate, research says 1 out of every 6 American women have been assaulted in their life, and 82% of all teen victims are female, with that being said 90% of adult survivors are female. (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”)

Also, from RAINN, students ages 18-24 attending college have an elevated risk at 3 times more likely to encounter assault in comparison to the overall population. Non college students, females in particular are 4 times more likely to experience assault. In comparison to males nearly only 3% of men have faced some form of assault in their life. Moreover, every 10 victims of assault are men. Students who identify as transgender are at an elevated high risk for assault, furthermore, 21% of the TGQN college students have been assaulted in contrast to the 18% of non TGQN females and 4% of males. (“Victims of Sexual Violence:


As we see particular groups are at higher risk of being sexually assaulted, statistics show that Native Americans are at most risk. American Indians are twice as likely to be victims of assault in comparison to other races. Averagely, this particular group ages 12 and above suffer 5,900 sexual assaults yearly. Research states 41% of the sexual assaults are done by an unknown person and 34% by a known person, and lastly 25% by a close friend, partner, or family member. (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”)

Women specifically tend to be blamed if they’re raped because maybe they “drank too much” or “dressed inappropriately” but in actuality it’s never the victim’s fault. What causes rape is impulsiveness, lack of control, unhealthy sexual desires, among many other reasons in the perpetrator. Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own unique way. Although this heinous crime may leave people with long term affects such as anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, fear, isolation, anger, guilt, distrust, low self-esteem, and many other emotions. Survivors may face many complex obstacles throughout their entire


Many victims never tell anyone or report it due to fear, guilt, self-blame, and many other reasons. Keeping it a secret is one of the most painful parts about it, which can correlate with acknowledgment, statistics show that people who do not acknowledge what happened may never recover. Research shows 94% of females who have encountered rape demonstrate indications of post-traumatic stress disorder during the first two weeks following the experience. 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD even 9 months following the incident. Suicide is another effect of assault 33% of women who are assaulted consider suicide, furthermore 13% of women who are raped make an attempt to selfterminate. Roughly 70% of victims feel moderate to severe emotional hardship, the most in comparison to other brutal offenses. (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”)

People who are victims more likely to abuse substances in comparison to the general public. Research says they are 3.4 times more likely to use marijuana, 6 times more likely to use cocaine, 10 times more likely to use other major drugs. (“Victims of Sexual Violence:

Statistics”) These statistics provide insight on how sexual assault can affect a person’s life.

Countless studies show the negative effects of rape, information from Examining Sexual

Assault Survival of Adult Women: Responses, Mediators, and Current Theories states,

Effects and responses statistics gathered from studies consist of depression, anxiety, avoidance coping, decreased self-esteem, PTSD, substance use, and suicidal thoughts and attempts. (Hellman, 2014) PTSD is among one of the most frequent and significant effects of rape.

Moreover, an African study shows a high-ranking percentage of rape victims show signs of PTSD. The results of the study disclosed that 74.5% of rape survivors presented PTSD following sexual violence experiences. (Sepeng & Makhado, 2018) Rape and sexual assault is also largely associated with human trafficking, thousands of women are human trafficked every year. “About 80% of trafficking victims are estimated to be female and half are children.” Furthermore, the trauma experienced by victims of trafficking includes anxiety, depression, alienation, disorientation, aggression, suicide ideation, attention deficit, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Okech, Hansen, Howard, Anarfi, & Burns)

These psychological effects are very serious and can be life long and worsen over time. Additionally, these effects can effect other things, it’s like a domino effect. One might not want to get out of bed due to depression or anxiety, they may not be able to attend their job leaving them unemployed, or they may be fearful of people, certain things could be triggers, they may have negative relationships with friends and family, sexual assault can be considered a chronic stressor as someone may be in a hyper elevated state often, there are countless things that could happen. Information from Verywellmind states “…a rape survivor may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For instance, nightmares or unpleasant thoughts may occur. An individual may feel as though they are in a state of constant danger or feel the need to be on guard. (Tull, 2019) These psychological effects are endless and exceedingly harmful.

Rape doesn’t just affect the mind, forced rape can lead to serious physical damage as well. Some may be temporary as some may be lifelong. Some of these include bruises, cuts around the vulva/genitals and or anus, soreness, broken bones, bleeding, etc.… More serious ones include, concussions, uterine damage, pelvic fracture, infection, STI’s, pregnancy, and in rare cases death. STI’s can be transmitted through rape and be very serious. They can lead to long term effects such as infertility, sterility, damage of organs, sickness’s, low white blood cell count, cancer, etc… HIV can lead to aids which is life threatening and uncurable. Most STI's are asymptomatic in which a person doesn't get tested they may not know they contracted one and by the time they find out it may be late, the damage in the body may not be reversible at that point. Majority of women do not get tested nor do they report the incident leaving them with the possibility of having an unknown STI and future health problems. Gestation (pregnancy) is another serious thing that could occur. Women who become pregnant result of rape may become “stuck” in their negative mindset. Women may be left to be get an abortion, adoption, or to keep the child in which each can be greatly traumatizing.

In conclusion rape is a heinous act committed against a person against their will. It can happen to anyone at any time although it does seem to happen to particular groups more than others. Statistics show that rape possesses negative long-term physical and psychological effects that are harmful to a person's health. Rape survivors may face many obstacles in their life, in all aspects of their life at that.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”) RAINN, is an organization that aims to prevent sexual assault, supports victims, etc. In 25 years, RAINN has provided support to 3 million victims. (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”) RAINN, has surpassed other anti-sexual assault communities, they are the largest and one of the most excellent. They are composed of several helpful services open to everyone.

RAINN, specifically provides help to people by educating the public, supporting victims, helping bring perpetrator’s to justice, helping improve sexual violence laws, among many other things. RAINN works with leading forces such as Lyft, Google, Uber, TLC, Bumble and several others to help make our community a safer place. This organization provides a 24-hour hotline and online chat that work with several sexual assault services for individuals to use. Information directly from RAINN, states, “We operate the DoD Safe Helpline for members of the Department of Defense community who have been affected by sexual assault.” . (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”)

More information says, “We offer innovative technology and services for partners in the field, including organizations, universities, and government agencies.” They also provide training services for companies, additionally RAINN provides staff at many local sexual assault service providers. Furthermore, RAINN works across the country to provide support for survivors. (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”)

RAINN provides many more services such as educating the public by working with the media, and by collaborating with the entertainment industry. This organization provides a broad range of amazing services, far too many to name all. They’re doing an amazing job and they’re very effective, in many ways. Especially with the safe hotline, this helps many individuals who are afraid to speak to a family member, or member of authority. It gives people a safe domain where they can obtain help. They’re improving the circumstances of effected individuals in many ways, by providing support services, is one of the most imperative ones.

To maintain these services RAINN is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization that asks for donations which can be made on their website.

In conclusion RAINN is a vast and widespread anti sexual violence organization that provides support to victims and their families. RAINN offers a wide range of services such as a safe hotline, an online chat, educating the public, collaborating with the media and more.

RAINN is doing a wonderful job and is making a positive impact on survivors.


(Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), (2020). (“Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”)

APA Hellman, A., MSN, RN Examining sexual assault survival of adult women: Responses, mediators, and current theories, journal of forensic nursing: July/September 2014 (3)

175-184 doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000037

Okech, D., Hansen, N., Howard, W., Anarfi, J. K., & Burns, A. C. (2018). Social support, dysfunctional coping, and community reintegration as predictors of PTSD among human trafficking survivors. Behavioral Medicine, 44(3), 209–218.

Sepeng, N. V., & Makhado, L. (2018). Correlates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis among rape survivors: Results and implications of a South African study. Journal of

Psychology in Africa, 28(6), 468–471.

Tull, M. (2019, September 22). The different psychological and behavior problems after sexual assault.

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